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Dublin: 17 °C Thursday 18 July, 2019
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Gerry Adams: The IRA had nothing to do with Kevin McGuigan's murder

The Sinn Féin leader said some people are using the killing to “undermine” his party.

kevin Source: PSNI

GERRY ADAMS HAS said the IRA was not involved in the murder of Kevin McGuigan in Belfast last week.

In a statement, the Sinn Féin leader has criticised people who “opportunistically and cynically seized on the killing of Kevin McGuigan in a deliberate effort to undermine Sinn Féin’s mandate, the rights and entitlements of our electorate, and the peace process”.

Adams said the IRA “left the stage” in 2005 and had nothing to do with McGuigan’s death.

The killing of Kevin McGuigan was wrong and those who were involved in it are criminals who do not represent republicanism. The so-called group Action against Drugs is a criminal gang. It is a mix of criminals and former republicans who have engaged in intimidation and violence in pursuit of their criminal ends.

“My thoughts are with the McGuigan family. Anyone with any information on this brutal murder should bring it forward to the PSNI. So too should anyone with information on the killing of Jock Davison,” Adams said.

Yesterday police officers in Northern Ireland say they have “great and justifiable” concern about a link made between the killing of the former IRA prisoner and members of the Provisional IRA.

PSNI

PSNI Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes says that one of their major lines of enquiry into Kevin McGuigan’s death is that “members of Provisional IRA were involved in this murder”.

He later added:

I have no information to say at this stage whether this was sanctioned at a command level or not and I am not prepared to speculate about that.

In a statement, the Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) described this development in the investigation as “worrying” and “of great concern to officers”.

Chairman Mark Lyndsay said:

This was a deliberate and measured assessment by the PSNI, conscious that every syllable would be placed under the microscope and weighed and analysed.
It is a very worrying development if a command structure can be activated at will. Our members view developments with great and justifiable concern.

Lindsay said officers are going their best to police and safeguard the community and that means there is “no place for murder gangs or paramilitary organisations which have nothing but misery to offer”. He appealed for the public’s help to put those responsible behind bars.

Political controversy

Yesterday Geddes said that a group called Action Against Drugs (AAD) is suspected of involvement in the murder and that current or former members of the Provisional IRA are suspected of being active in this group.

geddes Source: Sky News

Former IRA prisoner McGuigan had previously been spoken to as part of an investigation into the killing of Jock Davison, another republican figure, last May.

PSNI officers now say that a main line of enquiry is that McGuigan was killed in retaliation for the murder of Davison.

Geddes comments about the PIRA and the “command level” in particular instigated the controversy – as the current power-sharing administration in the North is predicated on the paramilitary organisation’s 2005 declaration that is was no more.

DUP leader and first minister Peter Robinson has said he will have discussions with other parties “about tabling the necessary exclusion motion in the assembly and asking the secretary of state to intervene in circumstances where the evidence points to the IRA being involved”.

He said he had already opened talks with the PSNI Chief George Hamilton.

Sinn Fein and other parties are also looking to talk to Hamilton.

North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly told the BBC that the police force’s statement was ”contradictory”.

He added:

“The IRA has gone, it has left the stage, it made a statement in July 2005, saying it was gone.

“The IRA has left the stage – full stop. It is not an organisation today.”

Meanwhile, the murder investigation continues (in the latest development a 60-year-old man was arrested in East Belfast this morning).

Further developments on the political front are expected later today.

- With reporting by Michelle Hennessy and Órla Ryan 

Originally published: 17.37

Read: Murdered ex-IRA man laid to rest – as three people are questioned over his killing>

Read: Kevin McGuigan murder – Ex-IRA prisoner shot by masked men at point blank range>

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